Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Last night Brian and I drank Really Good Bourbon and he told me all the things wrong with my poetry. All things I needed to hear, and so nice to hear criticism from another self-taught writer. When this novel is done (less than two weeks, I swear) I am going to take some time and just focus on poetry.

I was talking to my friend Nell, one of my only friends left from high school, about how so many of my old friends have disowned me. You have to dedicate your life to this. You're not going to be the best friend all the time. With art, you can always get better, and the better you get, the more people hate you for it. Must be like being a CEO or an investment banker. You can just always make more money, and the more you make, the more jealous people get of you. The more friends you lose, till your only friends are your money and your stuff.

I say, "But shouldn't I be more successful, a better writer before people start pointing angry fingers at me in bars?"

Brian laughs like a cross between a wild dog and a foghorn. "You have to succeed surprisingly little before people start to hate you. It can be something as simple as setting personal goals and meeting them, and people want to see you hit by a bus."

Maybe the most skilled writers are left with just their talent and words at the dinner table. At least I'll always have the characters in my head.


Kayleigh said...

Hi Jane, Thanks for another thought provoking post. I hope you're wrong about writers ending up lonely, but I've definitely experienced my share of friendships destroyed by jealousy. It's just too hard to be friends with other writers. There's always this unspoken competition for the "best writer" crown going on under the surface, and it gets in the way of celebrating eachother's achievements. My bf works in film and it's pretty similar with them too.

I hope someday I'll figure out the secret to friendships with people with similar interests (Gail and Oprah made it work, right?) but for now it's just easier to be friends with people who don't want to write. I always get to wear the writer crown, and they have their own crowns so it doesn't seem like validation is such a scarce resource. This is one of the reasons I'm ambivalent about getting an mfa -- spending all my time with other writers scares the crap out of me.

Kayleigh said...

sorry - Jade, note Jane. excuse the typo.

Jade Sylvan said...

On the other hand, I find that having a community of writers to support and even compete with helps push me to grow more. I feel like I never get any better if I'm the only one wearing the writer crown.

But I could not have only writer friends.